Our Combined Debt Payoff is Complete! $60K in Debt Paid Off in 13 Months!!!

Today was a monumental day!

I placed a little stamp on an envelope addressed to my friend, Alicia.  Inside was a couple of passes for Old McDonald Farm in Rapid City (ones we forgot to use while we were there), a free carwash, an Activity Card for checking out equipment at Hart Ranch RV Resort, and a check.

But the check was the real prize!  Not because it was a lot of money, but because it was the final debt payoff payment.Continue Reading

Home Buying, Goals, & Contentment

What?!  This blog is suppose to be about a crazy family of 6 living in a remodeled RV. Homebuying??

Well since we moved to Florida 2 months ago, there have been all sorts of changes.Continue Reading

Combined Debt Payoff Update ~ Working on the Final Debt

We have great news on the Combined Debt Payoff!!

3-Families-Debt-Free-TogetherThe third family is on their FINAL debt ~ a student loan for $33K and their van was just paid off!

So far, all 3 families have paid about $31K in debt for the past 7 months!  That’s a whole lot of moolah!

Some may ask how this all works out so well?

Accountable. All 3 families are close friends, we see each other on a regular basis (at least weekly).  We’re not out buying new cars or anything and we’re respecting one another to stick to the plan.

Disciplined.  This is the “just like you” part of the post.  I will say that Mark and I are LEARNING to be disciplined with our money.  Because of our downsized life, we have extra money we intended to put toward the debt.  But several things have come up, unexpected trips, van repairs, camper freeze issues, needing new jeans because of post baby body.  Little by little the extra cash has trickled away.  We are motivated and rejuvenated and making better decisions.

*  One thing I’ll say works better for us is that we have been consulting our financial advisors friends about more of our money decisions. (And let me just say that there are some HUGE ones in the works that I’m very excited about but refuse to spill the beans just yet).

Committed. We each look at the $800/month contribution as a bill.  A non-negotiable bill. We’re committed to seeing everyone debt free and by golly it’s happening.

Motivated. We’re in this together and we see debt melting away at a much faster pace than if we were to do this on our own. That is motivating friends. I cannot tell you how unbelievably blessed we are to see burdens lifted and doors open because of the debt being gone.

Where We Stand With Our Goal

Aside from our monthly contributions to the debt, our next big pay down will be with the tax returns.  Come on W-2’s and bank statements!!  We’re hoping to get $10K between the 3 families so we can knock the final student loan way down.

We had some things fall through at the end of year as far as extra income.  That along with the extra $3K on the student loan adds 2 more months onto the payoff (the 10 month plan). But on the bright side, we had originally planned for 15 months.

All this to say, we couldn’t be happier with where everything stands and see light at the end of the tunnel.

We welcome any questions about this whole debt thing.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we appreciate the support.  We’ll update on the debt as things change.  Thank you for the support!

Blessings to You!




How We’re Dealing with a Serious Case of Buyer’s Remorse


(Image Source: 401kcalculator.org)

Money can be a tough thing to talk about.  Since we shared the about the combined debt payoff, we really want to be transparent about our money and hopefully help and encourage others.

Truth be told, we fail in the finance department frequently.  This is not meant to be a self-condeming post at all, just an honest one.

Buyer’s Remorse

It hit us square in the face the past couple of weeks.  You know those days when it was 20 degrees?  Well we were having some SERIOUS regrets.

Regrets that we didn’t buy a used camper.

Regrets that we didn’t spend half the money we did.

Regrets that we didn’t save up and pay cash.

Now don’t get me wrong, we love what we’re doing and we love our camper.  Our regrets were purely financial.

In the whole scheme of things, we’re on the fast track to being mobile, we just see how the amount of debt is still slowing us down.  There are multiple ministries we’d love to go and help out with but are unable to do so just yet.

Decision Time

Let’s backtrack though to 2 nights before our camper was delivered.

Mark was reading a forum on RVing and figured out the size of truck we will need to pull this beast.  A 3500.  Ugh.  I immediately got cold feet and asked Mark if we could cancel our RV.  Neither of us wanted to cancel it, but both of us wanted to stop the process right then and there.

I had already had some reservations about the money for it and now the cost for a big enough truck was another factor.  In addition, it ended up costing us more than we thought it would after all the taxes, awnings, extended warrantees, & options.

We laid in bed discussing the situation.

How were we going to pay it off quickly?

What was a reasonable amount of money to budget for a truck?

Could we even cancel the RV?

We had renters moving in to our house in 2 weeks.  What on earth were we going to do?

Needless to say, we consoled ourselves and felt like we were stuck, I think the RV was scheduled to leave the wholesaler early the very next morning and our salesman was not working at that late hour in the night.

Desperate Times = Desperate Measures

So this past week, I actually *almost* conceded to Mark taking a job overseas for a year.  A year away from us so we could pay everything off and have a good savings.

But that was in a moment of panic.  A few days later, when I woke up in the morning, I was overwhelmed with peace.

Peace that our Heavenly Father was going to take care of us.  I was impressed with the words, “You haven’t even asked me to help you!  Ask me.”

So now that the dust has settled…

What would we or should we do when faced with another big financial decision?

  1. Pray.
  2. Wait – don’t rush.
  3. Ask others for advice.
  4. Don’t ignore our gut.
  5. Move on if a mistake was made.

Where are We Today?

So that big ole’ number 5…

Move on.


We firmly believe we made a mistake in buying our camper.  Pretty humbling to admit this to whoever may be reading, but we do.  Had we lowered our standards for a camper, we would be on the road by the end of summer.  As it stands we will be here (realistically) for 2 years.

We’ve thrown around the idea of paying down on our camper and selling it for a less expensive & used model.  Right now our focus is finishing the combined debt payoff. Still, we’re praying and keeping our options open.

We are choosing to not dwell on our mistake.  It’s remarkably easy to beat yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made.  We are choosing to look ahead rather than behind.

We are trusting in God to supply all our needs and to take care of us.  I don’t know how this all plays out but one thing I know is He loves us and He IS GOOD!

So there you have it.  One final thought on the matter, we all make mistakes.  But the question to ask is, do we learn from them and turn them into something positive? Let’s hope we do.


*UPDATE*  We bought a used Class A for a super price, you can read about it, here.  We’ve listed our camper for sale and are busy focusing on renovating the newly purchased Class A for full-time living.

Debt Free – Our Motives

We’ve had an overwhelming response to the combined debt pay off and the update we had about Gordon and Sarah being debt free.  From the bottom of our hearts…Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who has commented, contacted us, and shared what we’re doing.  It has been so encouraging to us.

The response has been mostly positive, but there are those people who think we are absolutely and entirely either crazy, irresponsible, or stupid.  And I’m okay with that.  *smile*

But I figured it was high time we talk about our motivation and reasons.

Most everyone agrees that having a load of debt is not a good thing.  Below are all GREAT reasons to get out of debt.  But next to each one, we’ve included our explanation of why we’re not motivated by them.

NOT Reasons We Want to be Debt Free

  1. Extra Spending Money.  I’d be a big fat liar if I didn’t admit that I’d love to have extra spending money.  Money that being debt free would afford.  But that’s not why we’re doing this.
  2. The Economy.   Last time I checked it really stunkith…bad my friends, but we aren’t motivated by that fact or the potential fear that comes with it.
  3. Increase Future Earnings.  There is nothing wrong with this, it’s just not our focus.
  4. Improve Our Credit Score.  No problems with it so we aren’t trying to fix it at all.
  5. Reduce Financial Stress.  We honestly didn’t have a lot of financial stress.  We live a pretty simple life.  Our bills were not overwhelming (though they may have been for the 3rd family and it’s a BLESSING to remove their financial stress)
  6. Financial Security.  Nah.  I think we’re on the brink of collapse and we find our security in Christ alone not paper money that has absolutely no real value behind it.

Our Reasons for Being Debt Free

  1. Ministry.  Mark and I have wanted to do missionary work for years but our debt held us back.  The other 2 families also want to do ministry work, though each of us has a different leading as of right now.
  2. Giving.  I remember reading Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love, which is inspiring and full of truth!  It is a great big kick in the pants, but said with so much kindness you don’t get that he’s judging you or wacky.  He says tough stuff but he’s so nice about it.  It’s palatable.  And you DON’T walk away from the book saying that Chan is a jerk.  He has “extreme” views on giving.  It is sad to me that they are extreme, but they were for me.  All that to say, he inspired us.  We want to be able to bless and help others more freely.
  3. Simplified Lifestyle and Travel.  Being debt free, we can full time RV and find work on the road.  We have more options.  Our living expenses will be so much lower without a debt payment and then we have freedom to go minister where needed and live off very little if necessary.

So those are our reasons.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the list of 6 above ours.  They’re just not our reasons.

I know one thing is for certain, for all of the families involved. . .

We want our lives to count for something.

We want to choose the right path for us rather than the standard path that everyone is expected to follow.  Many paths open up when we ditch the debt.  With the debt, we’re seriously limited.

UPDATE – Combined Debt Payoff – 2nd Family Debt Free

Thursday, we got an email from Gordon & Sarah.

They paid their student loan off and are now debt free.


And it was ahead of schedule!  Way!

Those of you who have not heard, we covered the debt pay off here.

Originally when we prayed and decided to do this together, we estimated it would take us about 15 months for all 3 families to be debt free.

The rate that we’ve actually been able to do this is staggering.

As it is right now, we are set to be done with the debt in 10 months!  10 months friends!!  10 months!

We are all kinda scratching our heads about it.  Here are the factors we think have contributed to the advancement (putting it in numbers, it ends up being and extra $7,200 that we’ve put towards it in the past 5 months)

  1. The Mighty God we serve.
  2. Extra remodel work Jamie has gotten.
  3. Additional money Mark and Gordon have gotten to throw at the debt (from extra work or selling things)

Really, we believe that the Lord is to credit for all of this as He has blessed us and our efforts!  That is an understatement in fact.

We also got word from the 3rd family that their original numbers were a little off.  Instead it’s about $43,000.  No biggie….we’re so happy to be on the last family’s debt.

We so motivated to finish this up.  And it feels great!

Combined Debt Pay-Off

This is Mark, the hubby.  I thought I would contribute a bit to the blog since we are a family and all.


We are doing something radical with our debt.  Actually 3 families are.  We are combining our debt and paying each others off.

My purpose in telling you this is to hopefully encourage you to do the same or something similar.

First let me introduce you to the families and the debt….

  • Mark & Julie ($9,500)
  • Gordon & Sarah ($11,000)
  • Jamie & Alicia ($40,000)

The debt above does not include mortgages…it is basically comprised of car and student loans.

The 3 families above want to be debt free (who doesn’t??), so we decided to do something radical.  We are paying off each others debts.  Our debt is combined (just on paper) and we’re paying it off.  Together.  The debt between the 3 families totals about $60,000.

Credit for this idea goes to Gordon.  Actually, I think Gordon stole the idea from the book of Acts 2:44-45 (from the Bible).

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

How Our Combined Debt Pay Off Works

  • Each family contributes $800/month to paying towards the debt.
  • One family receives the $2,400 monthly until their debt is paid off.
  • The next family receives the $2,400 monthly until debt-free.
  • And the last family receives the $2,400 until we are completely debt-free.

Pretty simple really.  I just wanted to be clear.

We started collectively paying this debt off June, of this year.  The order the debt was paid off is in the order of the families listed above.

So ours was the first to go.  Gordon had $4,000 in savings that he contributed right away.  Jamie’s family and ours paid some extra money too and it was gone in 2 months.

Next we went to Gordon & Sarah’s.  At the time of this post, we are trackin’ to be done before the end of October.  *UPDATE* We wrote about finishing Gordon and Sarah’s debt, here.

Lastly, we will get rid of Jamie and Alicia’s.

So you might be saying, “Wow Jamie and Alicia are making out on this deal and the other families are getting hosed!

Not so fast!!!

We All Benefit From This

For starters, Jamie and Alicia are working hard doing side work (he is in construction/remodeling) and are contributing quite a chunk of extra cash.

Next, we are all getting our debt paid off sooner by doing this together.  How?  We are more disciplined to make the financial sacrifice because we’re in this together and accountable.  (without this, we’d likely be making the minimum payments)

Lastly, we get to be blessed by helping friends that we love.  Acts 20:35

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Is it hard to give $800 a month to someone else?


But not because we don’t trust each other.  It is hard because we have to make sacrifices to afford to pay that amount of money (which we will go into at a later date to offer our take on budgeting)

We have known these 2 families for just over 2 years.  We are close friends though and love Jesus!  We love each other enough to sacrifice for one another.

What we are doing is pretty out of the ordinary.

But we are ordinary people.  We like to live comfortably, eat at nice restaurants, and buy stuff.  If we can do something like this….imagine what extra-ordinary people could do!

If all goes as planned, we’ll all be debt free by next summer.

There you have it folks, but since I hate writing, I’m outta here.

Grace and Peace.